Journal: Nature Chemistry
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A synthetic polymer for finding and binding proteins
© KATERYNA KON/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY/Getty
Researchers have designed synthetic polymer nanoparticles that bind and inactivate a protein involved in blood vessel growth during tumour formation.
Antibodies and other molecular tools can bind to specific proteins and modify their behaviour, but these molecules are difficult to discover and expensive to use. An international team, including scientists from Kyushu University, therefore developed an alternative approach based on synthetic polymer nanoparticles.
The polymer in the nanoparticles acts as scaffolding to hold subunits designed to interact with functional domains of the target protein. By synthesizing a variety of polymers and screening them for interaction with the target protein, a polymer which effectively recognizes and binds to a specific protein can be quickly and easily discovered.
Using the new technique, the team designed a synthetic polymer targeting VEGF165, which regulates blood vessel growth. The polymer bound specifically to VEGF165, inactivating it by blocking its interaction with its partners.
- Nature Chemistry 9, 715-722 (2017). doi: 10.1038/NCHEM.2749